Motivations Behind Social Media Posts

Jul 26, 2013

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As social media and online engagement between friends and family increase, the type of content we share among each other has molded into several different categories.

With so many topics, articles and YouTube videos on the Internet, what drives an individual to share particular content with someone else?

Here are some types of posts and content that we may be sharing with our friends and the motivations behind them based on a survey in the Viral Content Sharing Report.

1)Personal relevance– The most common motivation identified was personal relevance. 40% of those who answered a viral content sharing report, typically said, “I saw something and it made me think of one of my friends,” or “it seemed right up my friend’s alley.” Here’s an example of this kind of post from my friend, Aaron who shared this article with me.

2)Humor– It was cited as a motivation by 16.4% of those who responded to the report. Humor is great way for businesses to engage and share a “lighter” side of their image with customers. I found a cat video I had to share with a friend from YouTube.

3)Utility– The third-most-common response. Typical answers indicated that the sharer thought their friend would find the content useful, beneficial or valuable. Camping tips are useful for first time campers, therefore sharing this tip is vital to their overnight stay.

4)Relationship building– Mentioned in various forms by 9.5% of respondents; users said they wanted to make sure the person knew they were thinking of them, or they wanted to increase the amount of interpersonal communication in their friendship. Continuing to build the relationship with a friend in a large corporation like Starbucks, just needed a great picture of the product they sell and how it has benefited their day.

5)Common interests -7.8% of the respondents said that beyond relevance to the target, the content they shared was relevant to common interests they shared with their friend. Sports are a great common interest males have within their circle of friends.

6)They might miss it-The sixth most common type of post. These answers indicated that they shared content that they thought the target might not see if they didn’t show it to them. 5.9% of respondents said that they shared content either to start or continue conversations with their friends.

7)Reciprocity– An “I share with my friends, so they share back” type of post. It was explicitly mentioned by 2.4% of respondents. A thought provoking article shared by a friend enabled one person to share it with many to its intriguing facts in the article.

Why do you share content?

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